You may know Rosemary as a naturally flourishing and easy to grow herb commonly used in cooking, but it is also an effective natural skincare ingredient with a multitude of benefits. Rosemary also has a rich history as a medicinal herb, and at one point was even a symbol of love.
Rosemary in Skincare
Rosemary is one of the most common herbs used in skin care; this medicinal plant is rich in biologically active compounds, including antioxidants such as carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid. It is also rich in microelements and nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamins and antioxidants, pinene, camphor (up to 20% in dry rosemary leaves), cineole, verbenon and other components which provide skin with a multitude of benefits and improve skin quality. Rosemary Extract, Rosemary Oil (Rosemarinus officinalis), and Rosemarinic Acid are effective for many skin types.
Rosemary is used in Anti-Aging products since it contains naturally powerful antioxidants which inhibit the activities of free radicals and slow the effects of aging due to the Bioflavonoids present in the tannic acids and extracts. Rosemary is also recommended in anti-aging skincare due to its powerful regenerating, rejuvenating and stimulating activities. Rosemary Oil has skin lightening effects and helps to naturally correct age spots. It also helps to tone and tighten sagging and loose skin to help it look firmer and more elastic. Additionally, Rosemary stimulates biological activity and cell growth to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It also stimulates blood flow which helps to improve the complexion by making skin look healthier while also allowing nutrients to effectively reach the skin while removing waste products and toxins.
Used in Oily Skin products, the herb has powerful astringent properties which help it to effectively reduce oil, as well as refresh and rejuvenate skin. The disinfectant and antibiotic properties contribute to its use for treating acne and oily skin conditions.
Rosemary is also used in Sensitive Skin products due to the powerful anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce swelling and puffiness by calming inflammation and soothing the skin. Rosemary’s skin regenerative and wound healing properties helps to improve the appearance of chronic skin conditions including dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis.
Rosemary’s Aromatherapeutic Benefits
Rosemary is used widely in Aromatherapy as it is pleasantly aromatic and has naturally antidepressant uplifting and balancing effects. The stimulant properties of Rosemary refresh and rejuvenate, helping you to feel energized. Rosemary helps to uplift the spirit as well as refresh mental fatigue. It can also relax the mind to ease the pain of headaches as well as muscle pain.
As a caution, people with epilepsy and women who are pregnant or nursing should avoid high concentrations of Rosemary Oil, such as in massage oils, since it is a stimulant.
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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), a native of the Mediterranean region, with cultivated varieties grown in France, Tunisia, Bosnia, Serbia and Croatia, is a member of the Mint family. It is a perennial woody herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves. The name derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, which translates into "dew of the sea" because in many locations it needs no other water than the humidity carried by the sea to survive.
Rosemary in History
Rosemary is associated with the goddess Aphrodite who was said to be draped with Rosemary when she rose from the sea. The Virgin Mary is also associated with the herb as she was said to have spread her cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting; according to legend, the flowers turned blue, the color now most associated with her.
The Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and the Romans considered Rosemary sacred. In the Middle Ages, it was used to ward off evil spirits and as a protection against the plague. It was also extensively used by ancient healers. Dried Rosemary, along with Juniper berries, was burned in French hospitals during epidemics to purify the air and prevent infection. Due to Rosemary’s restorative properties, prior to the advent of modern antiseptics, it was used to medicate bandages before they were applied to wounds.
Rosemary has an old reputation for improving memory, and has been used as a symbol for remembrance (during weddings, war commemorations and funerals) in Europe and Australia. Mourners would throw it into graves as a symbol of remembrance for the dead. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia says, "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance." (Hamlet, iv. 5.) One modern study lends some credence to this reputation.
In the Middle Ages, it was used at weddings; it was entwined in a wreathlike hairpiece worn by the bride and wedding guests would all wear a sprig of rosemary. A Rosemary branch, richly gilded and tied with silk ribbons, was also presented to wedding guests, as a symbol of love and loyalty. From this association with weddings, Rosemary evolved into a love charm. Newlywed couples would plant a branch of rosemary on their wedding day. If the branch grew, it was a good omen for the union and family.
Both in Spain and Italy, it has been considered a safeguard from witches and evil influences.
Rosemary in Food
Rosemary is frequently used in traditional Mediterranean cuisine as it has a bitter, astringent taste and is highly aromatic, which complements a wide variety of foods such as oily fish and lamb. Rosemary is high in iron, calcium, and vitamin B6.